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Nicole Marie Sorkin

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The Immigrants' Daughter
by Mary Terzian

Born to immigrant parents from Turkey, this book consists of authors' witty and sometimes painful memories of growing up in Cairo during World War II, Israel's independen..  
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Blood Collector - The Time Anderson Series
Saturday, January 07, 2012  9:39:00 PM

by Nicole Marie Sorkin



Action/Thriller
Welcome to Seattle: beautifully sculpted art, massive structures, flowing gardens of wondrous colors decorated the streets of the sleeping city. The sun has set and the body count has risen.

 It’s another Thanksgiving in Seattle, and Detective Tim Anderson has a few problems. His partner, Detective Kenny Johnson, is having family issues with an elderly uncle. Anderson has a few family issues of his own, what with rarely seeing his daughter and having to deal with a bitter ex. Worst of all, somebody’s killing people left and right on the Seattle streets, and all the evidence – such as it is – points to a vampire. However, as Anderson investigates further, he discovers it’s worse than that: not only is the killer a vampire, but so are her victims.

This is the setup to Blood Collector, T.C. Elofson’s mashup of vampire and police procedural novels, and it’s a fast-paced ride. In fact, it might be a little too fast-paced; clocking in at just over 200 pages, Elofson takes readers on a whirlwind tour throughout history and several viewpoints as the saga of Fabiana, a nearly 2000-year-old beauty bent on destroying the original vampire, unfolds. Despite switching between first- and third-person points of view, as well as a few nested flashbacks here and there, Elofson does an admirable job of keeping the plot elements straight. Even better, real care is taken with the procedural and scientific evidence aspects of the plot, demonstrating a care and thoughtfulness with the realistic portions of the narrative that thoroughly grounds the novel’s events in reality and helps sell the more fantastical aspects. This realism is not as assiduously applied to the vampires’ effects on the real world, but there’s enough present to sidestep some of the sillier clichés, such as the lack of reflection in mirrors.

 However, in a narrative this streamlined, something has to go, and in the case of Blood Collector, it’s the characters. Not one is elevated to anything more than broad archetype, and in the case of the vampires, particularly Fabiana and her longtime love Cerci, all the clichés Elofson managed to sidestep in vampire lore come crashing to earth from the romance side of the aisle. Even given the routine nature of characterization in most thrillers, these fall flat, and the stilted dialogue, frequent homophone misuse and comma-spliced sentences do the narrative no favors. The humans don’t come off much better, and in at least one case – specifically, the FBI agent investigating the Seattle killings, which follow a pattern crossing state lines – some of the characterization and motivations seem to come out of left field. Mid-narrative switches in character don’t do much for suspension of disbelief, and in this case, it becomes one too many burdens for the story to bear.

While the weak characterization and fundamental language issues sink the novel overall, Elofson displays strong plotting and clear thinking in constructing the narrative, raising hope that future efforts extend those strengths to characters.

Pacific Book Review

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